Durham Big Sing - a festival of community singing | Fri 8th - Sun 17th May 2020 | POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

Durham Big Sing: Festival of Choirs - Postponed

Durham Big Sing - Festival of Choirs, The SInging Elf

Aiming to bring together 1,000 voices from across the region & beyond! 
Festival of Choirs is a day of workshops and performances open to any group of singers (5 or more) with some places for individuals. Singers will learn the finale songs in a workshop at one of our indoor city centre venues and have the chance to enjoy outdoor performances by choirs, before joining together with 1,000 voices for the Festival's spectacular finale in the Market Place.

Festival of Choirs 
Sunday 17th May 2020
Time: 10am - 5pm
(with option for shorter day)
Venue: Various, Durham City
Finale in Durham Market Place

Open to: Group of singers (5 or more), limited places for individuals.
Adults (16+) All abilities welcome

Cost: £20 per person
Choirs can apply for bursaries

Booking: Choir Registration Now Open - Register Here to start booking process

Fully accessible

Durham Big Sing strives to include everyone and aims to break down barriers to taking part. Our inclusive, non-competitive events offer additional support to those with a wide range of accessibility needs, including those with limited mobility or those requiring seating at both indoor & outdoor locations.

Who can take part?
We welcome singers of all abilities & musical tastes. You do not need to be part of a choir or already sing with a group to take part. The mix of voices is one of the magical aspects of the festival, enabling beginners to experience singing alongside more confident voices. Parts of the festival are open to young people but Festival of Choirs is for adults aged 16+.

Unity Choir, Durham Big Sing 2019, Gala Theatre, The Singing Elf
Durham Big Sing 2019, Gala Theatre, The Singing Elf

Our team of experienced workshop leaders, led by singer/songwriter and Pop-Up Choir extraordinaire Beccy Owen, will teach uplifting pieces from scratch to groups of approximately 150 at a time, at one of our city centre venues within a short walk from the Market Place. No advance learning is required. Everyone will then join together to form one huge 'big sing' choir for the finale.

Busking in the City
Back by popular demand! After feedback from last year's event we have extended the number of busking slots for choirs wishing to perform in outdoor locations in the City. This year there will be slots for a cappella & accompanied performance available to choirs of all musical genres. We've also scheduled 'free-time' to listen to the choirs, enjoy a leisurely lunch or explore the city.

Durham Scratch Choir, Durham Big Sing, The Singing Elff
Durham Big Sing 2020, Festival of Choirs Timetable

Timings 10am - 5pm
(with option for late arrival up until 1pm to shorten day)

All singers will attend either a morning or afternoon workshop, experience Busking in the City performances and join the Finale in Durham Market Place. Those wishing to reduce the length of their day can select the afternoon workshop as their preference during booking (subject to availability). Singers will be required to register at least 30 minutes before their workshop and will be provided with timetables detailing when and where they need to be throughout the day. 

Ticket Prices 
Festival of Choirs tickets: £20 per person.
We are working hard to find funders who can help us provide choirs with bursaries for those members unable to afford the full ticket price or transport costs. Choirs will be able to express their interest in bursaries during registration. Bursaries are not available to those booking as individuals. 

Rebecca McGarvie, The Singing Elf, Durham Big Sing 2019

How to book
Unlike the other events within our programme, Festival of Choirs is aimed at singers booking together in a group. Choirs, and groups of 5 or more singers, will book as a group. Booking for groups will open first, limited places for individuals will open later. If you are interested in attending as an individual, register your interest to hear when booking opens.


  2. Discuss preferences with your group & appoint a 'Group Leader' to arrange booking
  3. Receive invitation to BOOK YOUR PLACES
  4. Pay £5 DEPOSIT per ticket
  5. Send more details about your choir/group
  6. PAY total amount by 17th April 


  • Open to choirs of all sizes, abilities & musical genres (Aged 16+)
  • All choirs are welcome but not required to perform outdoors as part of 'Busking in the City'
  • Choir Leaders/Conductors/Musical Directors are not required to attend but each choir must appoint a group leader to organise their booking and payments
  • Each choir will attend either a morning or afternoon workshop to learn the songs for the grand 'big sing' finale (no advanced learning is required)
  • Choirs can request a late arrival in order to shorten their day (subject to availability)
  • Choirs attending the whole day will have free time for lunch & exploring the city
Durham Big Sing - a festival of community singing | Fri 8th - Sun 17th May 2020 | POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

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